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Football News: 2018/19 is the best Liverpool team I've seen

2018/19 is the best Liverpool team I've seen
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Liverpool FC in 2018/19:

50 games down 2, just possibly 3, remaining, is it right that what happens in the next 3-5 hours of football dictates how we view everything that's come before? I don't think so and that's why I write my review of the season before the fat lady's sung.

My summary of 2018/19 is simple, this is the best Liverpool team I've seen, it's one of the best premier league teams of all time and it has nothing to fear from any other team in the world. Jurgen Klopp and his players have been sensational and we should feel privileged to be witnesses to the events unfolding on the pitch. That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement so I'll get my whinges out of the way before I get on with the gushing.

The first regret is the domestic cups, losing to Wolves in a one off game isn't a disaster, if you roll the dice enough times occasionally you're going to lose, similarly losing to Chelsea is something that is going to happen from time to time, but what is notable is that in both games we played weakened teams and both times we were found lacking. This demonstrates a lack of depth in the squad, our backups aren't competitive enough, but also our repeated poor showings in the domestic cups also suggests a fault in our approach to these competitions. Perhaps focussing on the PL and CL above the other competitions is prudent, and maybe we wouldn't still be hunting for the biggest prizes if we'd gone for the FA and League Cups, but it's still disappointing to miss out on potential silverware with a whimper.

The next thing will be controversial but I do think we were uncomfortable being the pace setters, we've been far more ruthless chasing City rather than leading them. We took the top spot in the league when we beat Bournemouth on Dec 8th, we lost it when we drew to Everton 3 months later. In the 13 games we were top we dropped 11 points, in the 24 games we haven't been top we dropped just 6. I don't think it's surprising that we felt the pressure, this is Liverpool and thewait for a Pl title casts a long shadow, but with calmer heads it's quite possible that it would be City looking for us to drop points in the final game.

The last thing to worry about is that we still don't have second string players (with the possible exception of Shaqiri) that are really pushing to win a place in the first 11. In fact the management of our second stringers is something I'd really like Klopp to work on, Klopp doesn't trust them because they don't do the business, but how can they do the business when the manager, seemingly, has such little faith in them.

That's enough of downsides, because Liverpool have every reason to be ecstatic this season. A record points total has been achieved with games to spare which represents a top 5 of all time PL performance, it could well be top 3 come Sunday and maybe even top 2 (which would give us the title! ) . In fact it's absurd that we find ourselves in this position and we may not be champions. Liverpool have coupled one of the most dangerous attacks in PL history with one of the meanest defences, it's the greatest of misfortunes that we have achieved this in the same period that City are tearing up the record book themselves. This extraordinary league performance has been coupled with a run to, at least, the SFs of the CL. We've outshone the European heavyweights of PSG and Bayern and the margins that see us on the verge of losing to Barcelona are tiny, on another day that performance in the Camp Nou would have seen us humble 'the greatest team in the world'.

Our primary attackers have continued the incredible work of last season, Salah has scored a little less but Mane has scored a little more to make up for it (I wonder if this has been a deliberate attacking rebalance? ) . Through the middle Firmino has continued to demonstrate why he is the most underappreciated player in the world (outside Liverpool of course), his hard work is the glue that binds everything Liverpool do well together.

I look at Liverpool's midfield and I see real reason for world football to be scared, not because they're so good, quite the opposite in fact. Wijnaldum and Milner have run the hard yards this season and have been crucial to the team's success, but would anyone try to argue that they are truly great footballers? Fabinho and Keita may become great footballers but they've been bedding in this season, more is to come from them. Our most talented midfielder may be AOC but he's he's barely played. Even Henderson has shown that there's so much more to his game when he can relax his defensive focus. The midfield is the area where Liverpool can really improve and if Klopp can take that next step then it's terrifying to consider how good this team will be.

However, the biggest improvement Liverpool made in 2018/19 was in defence. VVD is the biggest reason for this, he is a truly exceptional defender and maybe about to step up to the hallowed pantheon of your Beckenbauers, Maldinis and Moores (emphasis on maybe, I'm aware I could be getting over excited) . VVD's been ably supported by the arrival of Allison who gives Liverpool a confidence between the posts that hasn't been seen since the days Reina was good, I shudder to think what would have happened if some fans had got their way and Karius had remained no 1. These two behemoths have been ably supported by the incredible improvement of Robertson and TAA. Last season these guys were good, this season they have been stunning, their personal assist battle has encouraged both of them to greater things, supposedly TAA wants to be a midfielder, Klopp would be mad to let him play there. The only question surrounds VVD's CB partner. The season started with Gomez in that position and every time I watch him I'm excited for Liverpool and England's future. But Gomez continues to struggle with injury, If he can remain fit I think the defence is complete but he needs to play more next season or Klopp may need to look for someone more reliable.

This summer there's three things for Klopp to focus on. The most important is to keep the first 11 together, something special is happening and Klopp can't afford to be derailed by richer clubs prising the crown jewels away. The second is to bring in creative architype, it's the one thing Liverpool is missing, it's not paramount we find one, this season is proof of that, but we should strive to wield every weapon available and midfield invention is the one item missing from our inventory. The last issue is our squad, with the notable exception of midfield Klopp has had clear first choices this season which isn't healthy. We should be arguing about which players start because competition for places is vital for long term success. Wilson and Brewster and the youngsters that could force their way in but if Klopp doesn't think they're ready then we need back up centrally and wide in our forward line up and at least one full back competing with Roberson and TAA. Fresh blood backing up GK and CB would be welcome but is less essential.

Teams tend to eventually peak, it's a cycle that is almost impossible to avoid, but there is every reason to believe that this team is still on an upwards curve and, given how brilliant we've been, that should be a very comforting thought to every Liverpool fan.

Written by PutneyRed May 07 2019 17:11:55

 

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